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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Down To Earth

Yacht Rock, part deux

It’s not often we get to say this but there’s good news concerning the Blackwell Island controversy: As part of the Marine Yacht Club expansion, which involves dredging the lake bottom, a revised plan will move contaminated sediments from a floodplain where Lake Coeur d’Alene flows into the Spokane River to a landfull.

According to the Center For Justice, “Under an earlier proposal, the Marine Yacht Club, LLC, would have left 15,000 cubic meters of highly contaminated sediments on the island. With the new change, however, the sediments will be hauled to an off-site disposal area. Blackwell Island is situated right where Lake Coeur d'Alene empties into the Spokane River, in an area that also provides recharge to the Spokane Valley/Rathdrum Prairie aquifer.”


Around Blackwell Island, the soil is contaminated with heavy metals from a century of Silver Valley mining waste. The Idaho Conservation League, the Kootenai Environmental Alliance, Idaho Rivers United, The Lands Council, and the Spokane Riverkeeper are concerned that dredging will lead to contaminants released in the Spokane River.

"The fact that the most-polluted sediments will now be hauled to a commercial waste facility instead of being stored on the island is great news for everyone who lives or recreates along the Spokane River," said Susan Drumheller, the North Idaho Associate for the Idaho Conservation League, in "Blackwell Island, Detox."

Construction will not begin until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers grants a permit that the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality assisted with to make sure the work complies with state water quality standards.

Also, check out Yacht Rock (part one).

Down To Earth

The DTE blog is committed to reporting and sharing environmental news and sustainability information from across the Inland Northwest.